Jadis and John Mitchell,
Friday 12th July 2002
The Mean Fiddler, London, UK
By Charlie Farrell
Brit neo-proggers emerge briefly from hibernation
Well its summer-time, so we have grown to expect a Jadis gig or two
around this time. Unfortunately, there was no 'Garden-Party' this year,
but in place of that a short string of dates in Southampton, London and
Rotherham. Support at the London gig was provided by John Mitchell, the
excellent guitarist of Arena who along with a friend, also on
acoustic guitar, kept the small crowd entertained until the main act
appeared. Playing a mixture of his own tunes and an eclectic choice of
covers, including tunes by Peter Gabriel and Cindy Lauper, his half-hour
set passed very pleasantly indeed.
Around 8:20PM, the main act arrived. Singer/guitarist Gary Chandler
in his usual sleveless T-shirt, Widge hidden under a baseball cap behind
the keyboards, John Jowitt in remarkably sombre attire and
Steve Christey in shorts behind the drums. They opened with Yourself
Alone a new but yet familiar sounding tune before going way back in
time to 1992's More Than Meets The Eye for G13. "Did
you remember it?" asked Gary as he began to engage the audience in
a bit of banter, making fun of himself for having sent out an email to the
fanbase duplicating a message by the Jadis webmaster a few days earlier.
Despite the band's efforts to publicize the gigs, the crowd was quite
modestly sized and seemed to take some time to warm up. Alive Inside
and then Sleepwalk seemed to do the trick and finally brought the
crowd to life, even though there appeared to be a slight change to the
guitar solo, particularly at the end of Sleepwalk.
The title track of 2000's
Understand sounded a little subdued and it was not until the
following number, Wonderful World that the band appeared to
begin to fire on all cylinders. Gary executed his wonderful guitar
solo with his usual dexterity and Martin Orford's accompaniment on
keys was perfect. Lovely backing vocals from Orford and from John
Jowitt were the icing on the cake.
It was time for another new tune Take These Words which
Gary introduced as "This is really two songs in one!".
It sounded like quintessential Jadis and several passages sounded
very familiar indeed, as if it wasn't really a new song at all.
"Did you spot the join?" he joked as the number finished.
With the band now warmed up, the final section of the set saw them
really cooking. A string of classic tunes beginning with Counting
All The Seconds and ending with Where In The World saw them
finally reaching the heights I know that they are capable of. Gary's
soaring guitar and emotion-filled vocals were stunning and on form like
this I'd take this band over almost any other, from any genre, fantastic!
An encore was inevitable and though most of the cries were for Isolation,
the band began with the stunning instrumental Holding Your Breath with
Steve Christey finaly getting the opportunity to exercise some of the
electronic additions to his set. Then, although the printed setlist included
Old and Wise they skipped over it and concluded with In Isolation,
thanked the audience and left the stage.
I'm a big fan of this band's live shows, but despite several moments of
brilliance and sheer bliss, there were times when a certain spark seemed to
be missing, perhaps due in part to their absence from the stage for some time.
The players however are all such excellent musicians and so clearly enjoy
playing together that I have to look forward to a new album (due February 2003)
and hopefully some further gigs.
Yourself Alone (new tune)
Take These Words (new tune)
Couting All The Seconds
Beginning And The End
Where In The World
Holding Your Breath
All photos © Charlie Farrell